Swiss Arms 1911A1 Part 3

Swiss Arms 1911A1 Part 3 Part 2 Part 1

From John Moses Browning’s first design to the original

Model 1911 the future was already written

By Dennis Adler

I rarely go off on a rant about fit and finish, but I am at a loss for any reason companies like Swiss Arms, Tanfoglio, and other major manufacturers can’t see the logic (or the consumer demand) for a nickel plated 1911A1 model. They have the features right and the finish wrong. We all know you can’t get a consistent gun blue finish on an alloy (aluminum) pistol, but you can get an excellent nickel finish. The WWII era 1911A1 at right has a factory nickel finish. Look how much better this is than the modern Cerakote-like finish on the Swiss Arms model. 

Authenticity is something that so many airgun enthusiasts demand, that I am often amazed by how few manufacturers acknowledge this segment of the airgun marketplace. Granted most CO2 air pistols are in the $100 to $200 price range, with some very nice examples hovering at around $80 (retail or discounted), so it is understandable from a marketing perspective that some corners are going to be cut. Just when you begin to accept that reality, someone comes along and proves that “it just ain’t so” with a model like the nickel plated Umarex Colt Peacemakers. Why nickel? Because an authentically blued model just isn’t a practical option, you can’t really blue an alloy pistol to look the same as bluing on steel. You can come close but not perfect. This gives us antiqued finishes (weathered) as an option and that has worked well on many pistols, Peacemakers, the Broomhandle Mauser, and others, some as special limited editions, but the obvious option manufacturers could pursue with many blowback action CO2 models that just don’t look right with a modern matte finish, like the Swiss Arms 1911A1, is to forego modern finishes on CO2 versions of guns that were originally built in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and simply put them out with nickel finishes. Even Colt’s offered nickel finishes on semi-autos as far back as the early 1900s (1908 for hammerless .25 ACP, .32 and .380 ACP models and 1935 for the Model 1911A1). So this begs the question, why can’t Swiss Arms and Tanfoglio 1911A1 models (pretty much the same guns with different brand name licensing) turn out a nickel plated version that would look like a proper period pistol, even if they still had their brand names and Warning information on the slide? It is understandable that only Umarex can use the Colt name, but let us not forget that during WWI and WWII the 1911/1911A1 was also manufactured by other companies like Remington-UMC, Ithaca, Remington Rand, US&S Co., Springfield Armory and even the Singer Sewing Machine Co. It is the design and finish that matter not the name on the slide. Swiss Arms and Tanfoglio could and should offer the 1911A1 style CO2 model with a nickel finish. read more


Swiss Arms 1911A1 Part 2

Swiss Arms 1911A1 Part 2 Part 1 Part 3

From John Moses Browning’s first design to the original

Model 1911 the future was already written

By Dennis Adler

A somewhat modern Cerakote-like finish on the Swiss Arms 1911A1 isn’t quite right, but then again neither is the big Swiss Arms logo on the slide, but if you look at the balance of the pistol it is about as close to a c.1924 Model 1911A1 (Transitional Model) as an air pistol can get. The 1911A1 is shown with an original lanyard and a World War Supply reproduction of the Model JT&L 1917 military holster, leather belt and dual magazine pouch for the Model 1911.

Swiss Arms introduced its 1911A1 (which they simply refer to as a 1911 even though it is the early 1911A1 configuration) several years ago, but it has not received the degree of attention the Swiss Arms 1911 Rail Guns get because they are the more popular 1911 variants. Swiss Arms, which licenses its name to the 1911 line (and I’ll explain why shortly), is a very old company, but you might not recognize it until you know that prior to 2000, Swiss Arms was Sig Arms, and is now part of a larger conglomerate that includes independently operated Sig Sauer GmbH, Mauser, J.P. Sauer & Sohn GmbH, Sig Sauer, Inc. (in the U.S.) and Swiss Arms, among other companies. The Swiss Arms name on a 1911 air pistol is equivalent to the Sig Sauer name on a 1911, and Sig Sauer makes some of the finest centerfire 1911 models in the world (over 20 different models) including the new “We the People”1911 in .45 ACP and new blowback action .177 caliber version, which we will be unveiling in Airgun Experience next week! read more


Swiss Arms 1911A1 Part 1

Swiss Arms 1911A1 Part 1 Part 2 Part 3

From John Moses Browning’s first design to the original

Model 1911 the future was already written

By Dennis Adler

“The Board recommends that the Colt Caliber .45 Automatic Pistol of the design submitted to the Board for tests be adopted for use by foot and mounted troops in the military service in consequence of its marked superiority to the present service revolvers, and to any pistol, of its extreme reliability and endurance, of its ease of disassembly, of its accuracy and of its fulfillment of all essential requirements.”                      

– U.S. Ordnance Department Board of Officers report, March 20, 1911  read more


The BB Conundrum Part 3

The BB Conundrum Part 3 Part 2 Part 1

Smart Shot, lead, steel and dust

By Dennis Adler

The generally underpowered Umarex Walther PPK/S gets an impressive boost from using lightweight Dust Devils which work perfectly in the stick magazine and blowback action of the PPK/S.

A pound of lead or a pound of Dust Devils will fall at the same rate of speed according to Galileo, but a 7.4 gr. lead BB will have a slower velocity than a 4.34 gr. Dust Devil. Galileo never had to deal with such problems. To begin our final installment let’s review the velocities with the test guns fired using Smart Shot and Dust Devils.

The first gun up was the latest Umarex Walther PPK/S which sent the heavy copper plated lead shots downrange at a marginal average velocity of 228 fps, and even with .177 caliber steel BBs the PPK/S can barley do better than 290 fps. But loading the Walther with Dust Devil BBs gave the CO2 pistol a competitive average velocity of 315 fps. So, let’s see what the PPK/S delivers in accuracy at that velocity, and not from 15 feet but a full 21 feet like other blowback action BB models that shoot in the 300 fps range. read more


The BB Conundrum Part 2

The BB Conundrum Part 2 Part 1

Smart Shot, lead, steel and dust

By Dennis Adler

The best all around choice for a CO2-powered, blowback action air pistol, the Umarex S&W M&P40 proved to function flawlessly on Smart Shot copper plated lead BBs. These make the training experience that much better since Smart Shot can be used on reactive metal targets.

The number one choice in blowback action CO2 pistols for training with a reactive or metal target has to be the Umarex S&W M&P40. So this is where we begin the search for a blowback action pistol with a self-contained CO2 BB magazine that will function correctly with Smart Shot. For whatever reason, the copper plated lead rounds, although heavier than steel BBs, get driven down into the magazine channel when the pistol fires. This compresses the follower spring and can force one round out of the loading port and jam the magazine. If there is no loading port nothing happens, and the Smart Shot functions perfectly. In semi-auto designs where jamming happens, it becomes continual making it impossible to use Smart Shot. But do all blowback action (or non-blowback action) semi-autos with self-contained CO2 BB magazines have loading ports that allow this to occur? The answer is not all, and the first and best example is the M&P40 which has one of the smallest loading ports and heaviest follower springs of any self-contained CO2 BB magazine. read more


Favorite airgun and holster combos Part 3

Favorite airgun and holster combos Part 3 Part 2 Part 1

One gun, one holster…

By Dennis Adler

Four guns, four holsters, combinations that work well with either centerfire or CO2 models (for training) but not all are as easy to carry concealed due to holster design, the size of the gun, and how the holster fits around the waist. Pictured are the Umarex Beretta 92A1 (top left) Umarex S&W M&P40 (top right) Sig Sauer P226 X-Five (bottom left) and Swiss Arms 1911 TRS.

From a purely technical evaluation of each gun and holster combination, there’s one clear choice, but it comes from weighing the specific advantages and disadvantages of each. The first consideration, since this is not a law enforcement or military open carry evaluation, is ease of concealment with a duty-sized handgun. All four CO2 models accurately duplicate the size and approximate weight of their centerfire counterparts, so for training purposes they all work and work well with the holsters shown. read more


Favorite airgun and holster combos Part 2

Favorite airgun and holster combos Part 2 Part 1 Part 3

One gun, one holster…

By Dennis Adler

Deciding on a modern gun and holster combination is actually quite a bit more difficult than a vintage, or pre-WWII gun and holster. There, the choice for a number two could easily have fallen to one of the early-style CO2 1911 models and a World War Supply Tanker shoulder holster; an excellent combination. My choice would have been my custom weathered Gletcher Tokarev TT-33 and the World War Supply Tokarev holster. Choosing a modern day blowback action CO2 model presents a far more varied field, which also makes the point that there are a lot of modern pistols available as CO2 models. Getting the right gun and holster combination can be equally difficult. Back in the pre-WWII era most semi-auto handguns had unique contours and dedicated holsters like those for the Luger P.08 and Walther P.38, or PPK, Russian handguns also had distinctive shapes so again holsters were limited to specific guns and there were few choices. Today, there are more holster makers than gun manufacturers and choices abound for every conceivable handgun and means of carry. read more